Questions raised after Nyamasaria overpass turns into a death trap for truckers

Wrecked truck at Nyamasaria overpass. [Michael Mute, Standard]

Six years ago Kisumu residents were overjoyed that the completed Nyamasaria overpass would ease traffic congestion and improve safety.

Heavy commercial trucks banned by the county government from accessing the Central Business District were to be accommodated in the overpass, an idea heavily borrowed from the Thika superhighway,

However, the stretch has become a death trap, with increased accidents involving trucks. More than six trucks have fallen off the overpass and landed on vehicles and pedestrians below in the last eight months while negotiating the sharp bend.

On Tuesday evening, three people died on the spot after another truck lost control and fell off the overpass before landing on a Tuk tuk and crushing its occupants.

Samuel Odera, a taxi driver behind the trailer before it veered off, said the trailer lost control while on the overpass and fell on the Tuk tuk on the road down.

"It seems it (the trailer) lost control because the driver was trying to make a sharp corner. The overpass has a sharp corner, so if you lose control, you only fall down," Odera said.

Residents thronged the scene and called on the Kenya National Highway Authority (Kenha) to improve the structure to avert more accidents.

They noted that since Kenha put up the flyover many people have died in the area now regarded as a black spot.

Nyamasaria overpass. [Michael Mute, Standard]

"The government should do somethin about this flyover. Let them raise its walls up so that if a vehicle loses control, it can stay up instead of falling down," said Maureen Atieno, a resident.

Yesterday, stakeholders, including senior security officials, said they believe the design of the bend could be behind the spate of accidents.

Governor Anyang' Nyong'o challenged Kenha to find a lasting solution. "I ask the police and Ministry of Transport to find a lasting solution to frequent accidents on the Nyamasaria flyover, even if it means barring lorries weighing more than 10 tonnes," said Prof Nyong'o.

In past eight months, about five trucks ferrying sugarcane have rolled off the flyover, leaving scores injured and several deaths.

Last year, three people died in an accident involving a truck ferrying sugarcane, after it veered off the flyover and landed 20 metres down, crushing two cars.

The driver and a passenger died on the spot. The accident left two vehicles, which were at a makeshift car wash below the flyover, destroyed.

About a year ago, three other people also lost their lives at the same spot in an accident involving another sugarcane truck.

The same year an accident happened in the same spot leaving two dead, while more than 20 students escaped narrowly after a 12-tonne lorry laden with sugarcane plunged down.

A student was hit as the lorry tumbled down and died on the way to hospital.

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